Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said he has instructed the HSE to pause the planned closure of the emergency department of Navan Hospital.
The minister was speaking in the Dail yesterday evening following a Sinn Fein motion objecting to the HSE plan to close the emergency department and replace it with 24-hour medical assessment unit and its injury unit.
Senior doctors in Navan said the emergency department there is not safe for around six critically ill patients a day and they need to be transferred to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda for proper care and chance of survival.
Speaking in the Dail, Mr Donnelly said he was informed by senior doctors about the safety concerns around the service in Navan Hospital .
He said senior doctors had concerns about the safety of emergency service in the hospital. But GPs in north east out-of-hours service had also expressed concerns about their ability to respond in referring patients to the medical assessment unit and doctors in Drogheda were worried about their ability to absorb the additional patients.
No Government decision has been taken in the planned closure, he told the Dail.
Additional capacity would be needed before it could be considered.
“For any proposal to be considered it would need to be considered on several levels,” he said, including access to GPs and availability of the national ambulance service.
He said; “We are all agreed on this.”
He said we need meaningful engagement and discussion.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee, who is a TD in Meath, said there were understandable concern.
She said she did not contradict the clinical concern Navan but said the” transfer of risk from one place to another” had to be avoided.
Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane told the Dail there were too many unanswered questions around the proposal and he pointed to the closure of emergency departments in the mid west which has left University Hospital Limerick grappling.